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Brij Kishore Vs. Smt. Mushtari Khatoon - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal Nos. 119 and 3009 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1976All399
ActsTransfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 111; Uttar Pradesh (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947 - Sections 3; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 6, Rule 17
AppellantBrij Kishore
RespondentSmt. Mushtari Khatoon
Appellant AdvocateK.C. Saxena, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.P. Singh, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....- forfeiture of lease requires that tenant's denial should relate to his character as the tenant of the person who claims to be the landlord - amendment of pleading - when allowed unamended original text to be ignored for all purposes. - - 4. that if the lessee has in good faith and for his own protection put the transferor or lessor to strict proof of his title he would not be liable to incur a forfeiture in the circumstances. ' section 105 of the transfer of property act states that a lease of immoveable property is a transfer of a right to enjoy such property, made for a certain time, express or implied, or in perpetuity in consideration of a price paid or promised, or of money, a share of crops, service or any other thing of value, to be rendered periodically or on..........with the determination of a lease and is attracted only when the tenant denies that he is a tenant of person who claims to be his landlord, either by stating that he is a tenant of a third person or by stating that he is no tenant at all. the question of the ownership of the property is only ancillary. a person may not be an owner and yet be a landlord. landlord is defined in the u. p. (temp.) control of rent and eviction act as follows:-- 'landlord means a person to whom the rent is payable by a tenant in respect of any accommodation and includes the agent, attorney, heir or assignee of such person.' section 105 of the transfer of property act states that a lease of immoveable property is a transfer of a right to enjoy such property, made for a certain time, express or implied,.....
Judgment:

Gopi Nath, J.

1. These are two connected second appeals arising out of two suits filed by Smt. Mushtari Khatoon the plaintiff appellant in Second Appeal No. 3009 of 72 and the plaintiff respondent in Second Appeal No. 119 of 72. It appears that there were two shops in a building which were leased out to two persons. Ishtiaq Ahmad the defendant respondent in Second Appeal No. 3009 of 72 is the tenant of one shop and Brij Kishore the defendant appellant in Second Appeal No. 119 of 72 is the tenant of the other shop. The plaintiff Smt Mushtari Khatoon had given notices to the two tenants to vacate the premises temporarily for a short period so that the shops may be reconstructed as they appeared to be in a damaged condition requiring repair, and alteration and reconstruction of the same. On the notices issued the two tenants filed two injunction suits restraining Smt. Mushtari Khatoon from demolishing the property or taking any steps to reconstruct the same. Suit No. 417 of 68 was filed by Ishtiaq Ahmad while Suit No. 418 of 68 was filed by Brij Kishore. In the plaint of these two suits Ishtiaq Ahmad and Brij Kishore stated inter alia that the property in dispute was actually purchased by the husband and the sons of Smt. Mushtari Khatoon though in her name and they were the real owners, but since the sale deed was in the name of Smt. Mushtari Khatoon the rent was being paid to her and she was issuing receipts to them. On this allegation in the plaint Smt. Mushtari Khatoon issued a notice terminating the tenancy of the two tenants on the ground that they had denied her title and forfeited their tenancy. This notice was given to both the tenants on 14-11-1968. The tenants replied to the notice immediately thereafter stating that they never denied the plaintiff's title or renounced their character as her tenants. The reply is Exh. A 12. They sent two months rent to Smt. Mushtari Khatoon thereafter by a money order treating her as their landlady. The money order was refused. The tenants thereafter deposited the rent under Section 7-C of the U. P. Temporary Control of Rent andEviction Act in the name of the landlady Smt. Mushtari Khatoon, These deposits are evidenced by Exts. A1 to A11. The tenants thereafter moved an application for amendment of the plaint to the effect that Smt. Mushtari Khatoon was the owner of the property in dispute and the allegations which in her opinion cast a doubt on her title may be deleted, learned Munsif allowed the amendment. The amended plaint was to the following effect:--

'That the defendant No. 1 was the owner of the shop in dispute and the defendants Nos. 2 to 5 realised the rent from the plaintiff but the receipt was issued under the signature of defendant No. 1.'

2. The suits giving rise to the instant appeals were filed prior to the amendment of the plaint on the basis of the allegations made in Suit Nos. 417 and 418 of 1968 that the sale deed in the name of Smt. Mushtari Khatoon was benami and the real owners were her husband and her sons. The ejectment of the tenants was claimed on the ground of forfeiture of their tenancy by the denial of the title of the landlady.

3. The defence delivered in the two suits was that the defendants had not denied the landlady's title. They had only given their impression about the nature of the sale transaction and they had in fact been paying rent to her and she had been issuing receipts to them. The defendants further pleaded that the required notice terminating their tenancy under the Transfer of property Act had not been given and the suits thus could not be decreed. Suit No. 2 of 1969 was filed against Brij Kishore defendant appellant in S.A. No. 119 of 72 and Suit No. 3 of 69 was filed against Ishtiaq Ahmad defendant respondent in S. A. No. 3009 of 72. Suit No. 3 of 69 was dismissed by both the courts on the ground that a notice under Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act terminating the defendants' tenancy on the ground of denial of the landlady's title was necessary. No decree for ejectment without such notice could be passed. Aggrieved, by that decree the plaintiff has filed Appeal No. 3009 of 72. Suit No. 2 of 1969 was dismissed by the trial court on the same ground that the required notice under Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act having not been given to the defendant no decree for ejectment could be passed against him. This decree was however reversed by the lower appellate court on the finding that the notice given under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act could be construed as a notice under Section 111(g) of that Act; consequently the suit had been properly filed and did not suffer for any defectof notice. The suit was accordingly decreed by the lower appellate court and the defendant Brij Kishore has filed the S. A. No. 119 of 72, aggrieved by the decree.

4. The main question involved in the two appeals is whether the defendants had forfeited their tenancy by a denial of the title of the landlady. Sri K. C. Saksena learned counsel for the defendants in the two suits has urged that the tenants had never denied the landlady's title. They had only given their impression about the sale transaction; but they had always been paying the rent to the landlady and had never renounced their character as her tenants or disclaimed her as their landlady. Forfeiture of tenancy by denial of title has to be in clear and unequivocal terms. See Mohammad Amir Ahmad Khan v. Municipal Board Sitapur : AIR1965SC1923 , Ram Das v. Lachman Janki (1961 All LJ 644). It was held in the second case cited that forfeiture of tenancy by denial of title is governed by following principles:--

1. That the denial of the landlord's title must be unequivocal and absolutely definite.

2. Where the denial is contained in a writing the writing should be construed as a whole without giving undue emphasis to one or other part of it.

3. That the landlord has to prove that the lessee has directly and unequivocally repudiated his title.

4. That if the lessee has in good faith and for his own protection put the transferor or lessor to strict proof of his title he would not be liable to incur a forfeiture in the circumstances.

5. Sri Bashir Ahmad learned counsel for the appellant has urged that a tenancy is liable to termination by forfeiture even if some reflection is cast on the title of the person who had leased out the property. Reliance has been placed on Hashmat Husain v. Saghir Ahmad : AIR1958All847 where it was held that an allegation by a tenant that the landlord was only a cosharer with another in the demised property was enough to entail determination of the lease. Such an allegation amounted to setting up a title in a third person alleging that he was a tenant of a third person also. Since one of them alone could not terminate the tenancy, Section 111(g) of the T. P. Act is attracted. That Section so far as material provides as follows:--

'111. A lease of immoveable property determines:--

(g) by forfeiture; that is to say:

(1) in case the lessee breaks an express condition which provides that on breach thereof the lessor may re-enter;

Or

(2) in case the lessee renounces his character as such by setting up a title in a third person or by claiming title in himself;The provision is concerned with the determination of a lease and is attracted only when the tenant denies that he is a tenant of person who claims to be his landlord, either by stating that he is a tenant of a third person or by stating that he is no tenant at all. The question of the ownership of the property is only ancillary. A person may not be an owner and yet be a landlord. Landlord is defined in the U. P. (Temp.) Control of Rent and Eviction Act as follows:-- 'Landlord means a person to whom the rent is payable by a tenant in respect of any accommodation and includes the agent, attorney, heir or assignee of such person.' Section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act states that a lease of immoveable property is a transfer of a right to enjoy such property, made for a certain time, express or implied, or in perpetuity in consideration of a price paid or promised, or of money, a share of crops, service or any other thing of value, to be rendered periodically or on specified occasions to the transferor by the transferee, who accepts the transfer on such terms. The transferor is called the lessor, and the transferee a lessee; the price is called the premium, and the money, share, service or other thing to be so rendered is the rent. Thus in order to constitute a landlord a transferor may not be an owner of the property. Section 111(g), this to my mind is only concerned with the question whether the relationship of landlord and tenant exists or not. If a title is set up in a third person the tenant thereby declares that the third person is the landlord and not the person who claims to be so. The tenant thus renounces his character as a tenant of the person who alleges himself to be his landlord. When a title is set up by the tenant in himself, what is declared is that the alleged tenant is not the tenant of the premises and the person who alleges himself to be his landlord is not his landlord. If the alleged tenant was the owner no demise of the property could be made in his favour by another person. The question of title of a person with respect to the property is immaterial so long as the relationship of landlord and tenant is accepted by the tenant. He cannot in that situation renounce his character as a lessee and does not dispute the title of the person alleging himself to be a landlord. Thus if there is no repudiation of the relationship of landlord and tenant by the tenant, the question of forfeiture would not arise. In the instant case the tenants accepted that the plaintiff was the landlady. Though it was alleged in suit Nos. 417 and 418 of 1968 that the real owners of the property were the husband and the sons of the plaintiff, the sale being benami in her favour, she was accepted to be a landlady. The rents were paid to her and receipts obtained from her. The defendant's impression about the nature of the sale deed to my mind has no material bearing on the question whether the defendants were renouncing their character as tenants. In their reply to the notice they clarified this position. They tendered two months' rent by money-order to her. On her refusal the rent was deposited in her name under Section 7-C of the U. P. Temporary Control of Rent and Eviction Act. In these circumstances their conduct clearly showed that they were accepting the plaintiff as their landlady. In the suits the tenants in their written statements admitted that Smt. Mushtari Khatoon was their landlady and they never did or intended to renounce their character as her lessees. In this view of the matter the tenants cannot be said to have denied her title.

6. Sri Bashir Ahmad learned counsel for the landlady has made two broad submissions:--

1. That the forfeiture in the instant case was incurred under Section 3 (f) of the U. P. Control of Rent and Eviction Act which is wider in scope than Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act.

2. That the amendment of the pleadings in suit Nos. 417 and 428 of 1968 did not help the tenants in regard to forfeiture as the cause of action had accrued to the landlady before amendment.

Learned counsel invited my attention to Hashmat Husain v. Saghir Ahmad : AIR1958All847 and urged that in the light of the observations made in that case, the defendants had incurred forfeiture of their tenancy and were liable to eviction on the ground of denying the title of the landlady. Reliance was also placed on Vishnu Chintaman v. Balaji Bin Raghuji ((1888) ILR 12 Bom 352), Mahomed Abdul Latif v. Habibur Rahman (AIR 1918 Pat 174) and Ambika Nath v. Chhedi Nath : AIR1943All273 for the submission that liability of immediate eviction was attracted as soon as a disclaimer was made. It was further urged that amendment of pleadings has a limited scope and rights accrued on the basis of pleadings prior to their amendment are not affected by their amendments. Attention was invited to thecase of Mt. Wali Bandi Bibi v. Mst. Tabeya Bibi (AIR 1919 All 320). The allegations in Suit Nos. 417 and 418 of 1968 prior to their amendments were as follows:--

'Yeh ki muddalehum 2 laget 5 ak manzil dookan mahdooda wa munfasala zail ke malik hain magar kisi maslahat ki bina par dookan ka bainama muddalehum No. 1 ke nam kara rakha hai. Muddalehum 2 5 kiraya muddai se wasool karte hain. Magar raseed muddalehum No. 1 ke nam se jari karte hain.'

Sri Saxena learned counsel for the tenants urged that the allegations only disclosed the tenants impression about the nature of the sale transaction. The landlady was characterised as a Benamidar but the defendants had not renounced their character as her tenants. Even a benamidar could eject a tenant as an owner. Thus so far as the relationship of landlord and tenant was concerned there was no denial of the title of the landlady. The rent was paid to her and the receipts obtained from her. There was thus no unequivocal or unambiguous denial of the landlady's title as required by law to entail forfeiture of tenancies. It is apparent from the material on record that as soon as an exception was taken by the landlady to the statement made in the pleadings of the earlier suit, the present defendants clarified the position and stated that the plaintiff was the owner of the premises and they were her tenants. So whether she was the real owner or notional owner her rights as landlady qua the defendants was not questioned. Law leans against forfeiture. See Ram Das v. Lachman Janki (Supra) and Shiam Behari Lal v. Madan Singh : AIR1945All293 . The word title in Clause (f) of Section 3 of the Act as also in Sub-clause (g) of Section 111 of the Transfer of Property Act refers to a title as a landlord, on the basis of which ejectment can be claimed of a tenant. Proprietary title is immaterial for the purposes of those sections. See Hashmat Husain v. Saghir Ahmad : AIR1958All847 . If the defendants had not denied the landlady's title as a landlord a controversy as to the real ownership of the property was wholly immaterial for the purposes of either Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act or Section 3 (f) of the U. P. Temporary Control of Rent and Eviction Act. In Hashmat Husain's case this court took the view that allegations regarding co-ownership of the property affected the sole right of the person alleging to be the landlord to eject the tenant concerned, and thus a cloud was cast on his title for the purposes of the ejectment suit. In the instant case, no such assertion was made in suit Nos.417 and 418 of 1968 and it could not be said that the landlady was rendered incompetent on the basis of the allegation made, to file a suit for the ejectment of the present defendants. No forfeiture could thus be incurred by the tenants. The case of Zamin Ali v. Shanti Swaroop Garg, (1969 All LJ 198) is wholly distinguishable on facts. In that case the tenant disowned his liability to pay any rent to the landlord. He alleged that some other person was a tenant who was liable to pay the rent. It was accordingly held that the tenant had renounced his character as such and had forfeited his tenancy under Section 111(g) of Transfer of Property Act and Section 3 (f) of the U. P. Temporary Control of Rent and Eviction Act. The court observed that the scope of Section 3 (1) (f) was larger than Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act. It is not necessary to enter into a discussion as to the scope of the two sections as I am of the opinion that the defendants had not renounced their character as tenants of the plaintiff. There was thus no disclaimer of her title. The plaintiffs in Suit Nos. 417 and 418 of 1968 were subsequently amended and the present plaintiff was unequivocally admitted to be owner of the premises. In Prabhu Narain Singh v. Jitendra Mohan Singh, (AIR 1948 Oudh 307) it was held that the court must take the pleadings as they stand after amendment and leave out of consideration the unamended ones. In Warner v. Sampson (1959 (2) WIR 109) it was laid down that a writ as amended becomes for that purpose the original commencement of that action. It was observed that once pleadings are amended that which stood before amendment was no longer material. Ejectment on the ground of disclaimer was accordingly refused in that case.

7. The defendants thus could not be said to have forfeited their tenancy. The suits for their ejectment accordingly couldj not be decreed on that ground.

8. In the result Second Appeal No. 3009 of 1972 is dismissed while Second Appeal No. 119 of 1972, is allowed. Suits Nos. 2 of 1969 and 3 of 1969 are dismissed. In the circumstances of the case the parties shall bear their own costs.


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